During National Fertility Week from 1 to 5 November 2021, Fertility Matters at Work is launching its workplace education and policy programme to raise awareness of fertility issues and their impact in the workplace, supporting organisations in becoming “fertility friendly” – an important topic that relates to mental health, workplace wellness and women’s reproductive health.
Fertility Matters at Work is a new Community Interest Company specialising in fertility workplace education, set up by three founders each with their own individual fertility experience. Their personal insights are complemented by more than 30 years of experience as HR professionals alongside the founder of the UK’s longest running fertility education podcast The Fertility Podcast. Their mission is to break down barriers and taboos on a subject that is often difficult to discuss for both employees and employers.
They have collaborated on the Fertility at Work project to provide a broad range of fertility support and benefits to complement their training and policy offering. They are proud to partner with Fertility Circle, an app which provides the very best expert support, information and community for anyone experiencing fertility issues; Hertility Health, offering at-home fertility and menopause testing and treatment for employees; and leading UK law firm Shoosmiths, assisting on the legal and advisory aspects of the project by employment law specialists.
The new educational e-learning and training programme guides participants on what fertility treatment is, how common it is, the patient journey, the impact from a physical, emotional and financial perspective, how employers can encourage disclosure, why it is important to recognise fertility treatment as part of the workplace, how to hold constructive conversations and how workplaces can become more fertility friendly. Fertility Matters at Work also offers bespoke training and policy development consultancy, with research-based insights and practical recommendations to support organisations attracting and retaining talent in becoming one of the first “fertility friendly” employers.
Natalie Silverman, co-founder of Fertility Matters at Work and founder of The Fertility Podcast, said: “We believe the Fertility Matters at Work initiative to be a first of its kind designed to enable employers to support their people through this often difficult experience, one that can have a significant impact on mental health and emotional wellbeing. During 35 years of HR experience, neither Becky or Claire have ever been approached by an employee needing support through fertility struggles – this silence speaks volumes.”
Karen Hanson, co-founder of Fertility Circle, said: “It's time for change in the workplace! Fertility Matters at Work have created a much needed, comprehensive and informative bank of resources which will not only help employers to be respectful and mindful but also to provide a supportive environment for their employees who are having fertility treatment.”
Dr Helen O’Neill, CEO and founder of Hertility Health, said: “I’m thrilled to be supporting Fertility at Work – with one in three women suffering from a reproductive health issue, we hope this project will help to de-stigmatise conversations around fertility in the workplace.”
Helen Burgess, employment partner at Shoosmiths, said: “‘You may be tempted to think ‘not another e-learning tool’ – but this isn’t a standard e-learning package. A great deal of time and effort makes it informative, accessible and engaging. The taboo around fertility in the workplace needs to be broken, and managers and employees need to have this firmly on their radars and know how to deal with the issue – whether they’re going through fertility challenges personally or are managing people who are.”